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Which knee compression sleeves are best?

Knee compression sleeves have become staples in the gym and in everyday life  because they’re comfortable, flexible and, in many instances, unnoticeable. People find different uses for them, but many use them when doing heavy lifting or going for long runs.

These sleeves help increase blood flow in the knee, reducing the risk of swelling after workouts or being on your feet all day. They aren’t restrictive and you won’t feel as if you have less mobility. If you’re looking for a knee compression sleeve that’s breathable and improves blood circulation, the Powerlix Knee Compression Sleeve is the top choice.

What to know before you buy a knee compression sleeve

Knee sleeve vs. knee brace

Some people mistake knee sleeves for knee braces or think they have the same purpose. They have similarities but different uses. If someone is dealing with a serious knee injury such as a torn anterior cruciate ligament, a knee sleeve may not be best to help reduce pain and stabilize the knee. A knee brace will likely be more suitable if the knee injury is serious, but it’s best to consult a doctor.

Some people skip rehab and wear a knee sleeve or brace. If a doctor or another appropriate professional requires you to do rehab, it’s best to do it so your knee can recover faster. Don’t avoid therapy and expect to fix the issue with just a sleeve or brace. 


To determine the size you need for your knee sleeve, use a sewing tape measure to measure the circumference around the leg in the knee area. With your leg slightly bent at a 70-degree angle, measure the circumference approximately 4 inches below the kneecap.

For circumferences less than 10.5 inches, an extra-small knee compression sleeve is recommended. For 10.5-12.5 inches, a small is best, while 12.5-13.5 inches calls for medium sizes. If you measure 13.5-14.5 inches, a large is best. Extra-large works for those measuring more than 14.5.

Open-patella vs. closed-patella knee compression sleeve

While it may not seem like a major difference, knee sleeves with openings for the patella, or kneecap, have different benefits than a closed-knee compression sleeve. Open-patella knee sleeves put less pressure on the knees and are more breathable than closed models. Closed knee sleeves provide more support, so weightlifters usually prefer them.

What to look for in a quality knee compression sleeve


Having a knee compression sleeve with antibacterial properties helps slow or stop the spread of bacteria, mold and more. Sleeves with antibacterial properties are especially useful for those who are highly active and go to the gym frequently. There are sleeves that use an antibacterial neoprene material.


Similar to how parts of a long sock can slip down to your ankle when you’re active, some knee sleeves slide up or down your leg, especially when working out or doing a lot of movement. Nonslip sleeves are best. 


Even though hand-washing a knee sleeve is fairly easy, sleeves that are machine-washable are useful in saving time. Look for sleeves that are labeled machine-washable, and pay attention to the recommended water temperature.

Four-way stretch

Fabric may have a two-way or four-way stretch design. Two-way stretch fabric stretches either widthwise or lengthwise. Four-way stretch fabric stretches both widthwise and lengthwise, allowing more flexibility and mobility. Two-way fabric feels more restrictive.

How much you can expect to spend on a knee compression sleeve

They cost $15-$150. If you need just one sleeve, you can find cheap ones for $15-$25 that are flexible and support your knee. For packs of two sleeves and sleeves that use gel padding or straps for extra support, you may pay $25-$75. In the $75-$150 range, sleeves have extra padding and support, are designed by an orthopedist or are medical-grade, geared toward people with specific conditions.

Knee compression sleeve FAQ

Is it OK to wear a compression sleeve all day?

A. It’s best to consult your doctor to see if it’s suitable to wear a knee compression sleeve all day. But it’s common for people to wear them all day. Don’t wear one while going to sleep for the night unless your doctor says it’s OK.

How thick should knee sleeves be?

A. Knee sleeves range from 3 to 7 millimeters thick, with thicker sleeves providing slightly more support and stability for your knee. If you want something lighter, sleeves on the thinner side are more suitable. 

What are the best knee compression sleeves to buy?

Top knee compression sleeve

POWERLIX Knee Compression Sleeve

Powerlix Knee Compression Sleeve

What you need to know: Using two silicone gel strips, this compression sleeve won’t slip and feels soft.

What you’ll love: There are five sizes and seven colors to choose from, and the sleeve is highly breathable with its neoprene fabric. Its four-way stretch design provides extra flexibility.

What you should consider: Only one sleeve is included.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top knee compression sleeve for the money

Mueller 4-Way Stretch Knee Support

Mueller 4-Way Stretch Knee Support

What you need to know: From one of the most trusted brands in sports medicine, this Mueller knee sleeve uses a unique infrared technology to improve blood circulation around the knee.

What you’ll love: Its four-way stretch design and latex-free material make it highly comfortable. Its compression design can improve recovery time for certain ailments.

What you should consider: It is not machine-washable.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

ProFitness Bamboo Fabric Knee Sleeves

ProFitness Bamboo Fabric Knee Sleeves

What you need to know: Get two sleeves for a very good price with these knee sleeves.

What you’ll love: The bamboo fabric helps the sleeve be more breathable and less noticeable. The nonslip material makes sure it won’t slide up and down your leg.

What you should consider: The fabric may be too thin for some.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Ade Hennis writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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